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Brian Laung Aoaeh
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Note: This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KEC Ventures, or of other members of the KEC Ventures team.
Supplying the world with nearly everything is an enormous and complex job: there are things to discuss.
– Rose George (2013-08-13). Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate (p. 142). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.
Our blog post about startups building software products for the shipping industry generated more interest than I anticipated. Unfortunately, some readers got the impression that we intended to focus more on containerships than on the bulk shipping segment of the industry. That was not our intention, and so I promised I’d spend more time digging into the bulk carrier portion of the market when I published an update.
This blog post will not make any sense if you have not already read Industry Study: Ocean Freight Shipping (#Startups) – which I co-authored with John Azubuike. Also, reading this post or the preceding one will be a waste of time if you do not have a strong interest in shipping, AND in early-stage technology startups building products for the shipping industry.
KEC Ventures is an institutional seed-stage venture capital fund based in New York. We invest between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in seed-stage startups building software products. We have been doing this since 2011.1
Abstract & Summary: By some estimates, ocean freight shipping is responsible for transporting 90% of every physical good that people consume - moving trillions of dollars worth of goods from one place to another, connecting markets, and keeping commerce humming across far flung national borders. This presents opportunities that more technology startups are pursuing. In this post we outline the ocean freight shipping industry's structure, and economics. We also discuss the opportunities that startups and venture capitalists are pursuing. Finally we discuss some threats and opportunities that we feel one should be aware of. The article is written from the perspective of a seed stage venture capitalist trying to understand the market.